Electronic sports (also known as eSports, e-sports, competitive gaming, or progaming in Korea) is a term for organized multiplayer video game competitions. The most common video game genres associated with electronic sports are real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, and multiplayer online battle arena. Tournaments such as the League of Legends World Championship, The International Dota 2 Championships, the Battle.net World Championship Series, the Evolution Championship Series, the Intel Extreme Masters, provide both live broadcasts of the competition, and cash prizes to competitors.
Although e-sports have long been a part of video game culture, competitions have seen a large surge in popularity from the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. While competitions around 2000 were largely between amateurs, the proliferation of professional competitions and growing viewership now supports a significant number of professional players and teams, and many video game developers now build features into their games designed to facilitate such competition.
The increasing availability of online video streaming platforms, particularly Twitch.tv, has become central to current eSports competitions. In 2014, sports broadcaster ESPN broadcast the The International 4 pre-show for the finals, marking the first time an eSports event had been simultaneously broadcast on a mainstream channel.
Historically, a variety of games were used for hosting pc based e-tournaments such as small FIFA 98 groups organized from forums, all the way to what was then large amateur ( although paid teams also existed ) online gatherings in the zones attached to virgin interactives top down 2d space shooter subspace, now known as continuum. With the forementioned game having organized league structures running since pre 2000, simulating classic fps style flagging games and even has a long running 6 on 6 space hockey league.
The category of fighting games and arcade fighters have also been popular in amateur tournaments, although the fighting game community has often distanced themselves from the eSports label. In 2012, the most popular titles featured in professional competition were real time strategy and multiplayer online battle arena games Dota 2, League of Legends, and StarCraft II. Shooting games like Counter Strike and Call of Duty have enjoyed some success as eSports, although their viewer numbers have remained below those of their competitors.
Geographically, eSports competitions have their roots in developed countries.[original research?] South Korea has the best established eSports organizations, officially licensing pro-gamers since the year 2000. Official recognition of eSports competitions outside South Korea has come somewhat slower. In 2013, Canadian League of Legends player Danny “Shiphtur” Le became the first pro-gamer to receive a United States P-1A visa, a category designated for “Internationally Recognized Athletes”.[undue weight? – discuss] Along with South Korea, most competitions take place in Europe, North America and China. Despite its large video game market, eSports in Japan is relatively underdeveloped, which has been attributed largely to its broad anti-gambling laws.In 2014, the largest independent eSports brand, ESL, partnered with the local eSports brand Japan Competitive Gaming to try and grow eSports in the country.
In 2013, it was estimated that approximately 71,500,000 people worldwide watched competitive gaming. Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is approximately 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34. Related this appreciable male majority, female gamers within the industry are subject to significant sexism and negative stereotypes. Despite this, some women within eSports are hopeful about the general progress in overcoming these problems.